Sato holds off Helio to give Andretti another Indy 500 win

Helio Castroneves knows what it's like to win the Indianapolis 500.

And when race victor and Andretti Autosport teammate Takuma Sato was trying to hold off Helio Castroneves as the laps ran down, Alonso said he was "on my knees" rooting him on.

The Indy 500 win is Sato's second victory overall in his eight-year IndyCar career.

After celebrating the win by dumping a bottle of 2 percent milk on his head, Sato said it was a "fantastic race". "I know I can be as quick as anyone in a Formula One vehicle. I can't thank everyone enough for their support". He struggled a bit on restarts - no surprise since it was his first rolling starts since racing go-karts in 1997 - but was otherwise one of the best drivers in the 33-car field.

Still, his race was spectacular and Alonso simply fell victim to his engine late in the race. "Today was not possible"."The last two weeks, I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself", Alonso added. It is important to differentiate between Honda's F1 and IndyCar programmes - they are fundamentally different projects and engines - but the failings of the Japanese manufacturer will forever be associated with the later years of Alonso's career unless it can do the unthinkable and deliver him a championship-winning F1 auto before he retires (just convincing him to stay in 2018 seems hard enough).

"As soon as Dixon crashed, I really got scared", Bourdais said. Sato is a regular driver on the Formula One circuit. Even Franchitti made his way to victory lane to congratulate Sato, who was eager to see the impact of his win at home in Japan.

Rookie Ed Jones then made a courageous move on Castroneves to tuck in behind Chilton. Both drivers walked away from the crash, but the race was halted temporarily while the debris was cleared. However, on lap 136, the Honda engine of Ryan Hunter-Reay blew up and shortly after, Rossi fell to 21st position after stalling in the pits. Castroneves now leads the IndyCar championship by 11 points over Simon Pagenaud, Sato and Dixon.

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"This is going to be mega big".

Before the battle over the final laps Sato made a daring move on Lap 179, going three wide through Turn 1 and moving from fourth to second. "I would consider coming back here to race now that I know all the procedures".

Sitting alongside him in front of the world's media was Helio Castroneves - the experienced three-time victor of the event who had just pipped the UAE resident to second place. "We had really strong cars, but they seemed like everyone started to have problems".

Sato raced with Jordan, BAR-Honda and Super Aguri over a seven-year period, securing his best result of third place at the 2004 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. "Finishing second again sucks". Media swarmed him everywhere he went ("You followed me for two weeks every single minute, but I really enjoyed it", he said jokingly), and its makeup was considerably more worldwide than usual.

Pole sitter Scott Dixon, already having a rough week because he was robbed at gunpoint at Taco Bell hours after turning the fastest qualifying effort in 21 years, was knocked out of the race in a terrifying crash in which his vehicle sailed through the air and landed cockpit-first atop the inside safety fence.

Still, Honda had the winning engine at the end and six of the top 10. We lacked that straight speed, I'd say, for the last 40 laps. And as you can tell from the video Andretti posted on Twitter...the team was rather happy for him.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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